Vera Cruz, lying on a sandy stretch of land that was surrounded by marshes, was soon sighted, and the “Long Island” stood in toward the harbor in which the Stars and Stripes fluttered from several other American warships lying at anchor.
A messenger from the executive officer appeared on the bridge with the information that, after the ship came to anchor, Ensign Dalzell would be sent in one of the launches to convey the Carmody party ashore.
There was no chance for the rescued ones to come forward to say good-bye to Darrin on the bridge, for they went over the port side into the waiting launch.
Dalzell, however, manoeuvred the launch so that she passed along the ship’s side.
A call, and exclamations in feminine voices attracted Dave’s notice.
“Mr. Darrin, Mr. Darrin!” called four women at once, as they waved their handkerchiefs to him. Dave, cap in hand, returned their salute.
“Thank you again, Mr. Darrin.”
“We won’t say good-bye,” called Mrs. Carmody, “for we shall hope to meet you and your splendid boat-crew again.”
At that the jackies on the forecastle set up a tremendous cheering.
Not until Dave had gone off duty did another launch put out from the “Long Island.” That craft bore to one of the docks two metal caskets. Brief services had been held over the remains of the sailor and the marine killed the night before, and now the bodies were to be sent home to the relatives.
After luncheon a messenger summoned Ensign Darrin to Commander Bainbridge’s office.
“Ensign Darrin,” said the executive officer, “here are some communications to be taken ashore to the office of the American consul. You will use number three launch, and take a seaman orderly with you.”
“Aye, aye, sir.”
Darrin went over the side, followed by Seaman Rogers, who had been in the landing party the night before, Both were soon ashore. Rogers, who knew where the consul’s office was, acted as guide.
Crowds on the street eyed the American sailors with no very pleasant looks.
“Those Greasers are sullen, sir,” said Seaman Rogers.
“I expected to find them so,” Ensign Darrin answered.
They had not gone far when a man astride a winded, foam-flocked horse rode up the street.
“Do you know that man, sir?” asked Seaman Rogers, in an excited whisper.
“The bandit, Cosetta!” Dave muttered.
“The same, sir.”
But Darrin turned and walked on again, for he saw that the recognition had been mutual.
Espying the young ensign, Cosetta reined in sharply before a group of Mexicans, whose glances he directed at Dave Darrin.
“There he goes, the turkey-cock, strutting young officer,” cried Cosetta harshly in his own tongue. “Eye the young Gringo upstart well. You must know him again, for he is to be a marked man in the streets of Vera Cruz!”